A FOUR-YEAR TICKET TO TYRANNY?
In the recent interview of school board candidates by the Dominion Post, candidate Mike Kelly says, “we have involved everybody” in the decision to site the new green elementary school.
He could not be more wrong. The people the school board involved the least were those the most affected, aside from the schoolchildren: the parents and the general public.
Mon Schools never sent out a notice about school closing and consolidation individually to the parents (through their children in the schools) until 2.5 months after a new school site had been decided on by the board. The only reason they even sent out a notice at that point (the second to last day of school) was due to the pressure from parents who had themselves prepared a note to send out about the upcoming Woodburn and Easton Closure hearings.
So, Mike Kelly, if you really do want to “involve everybody” – especially those most affected – you need to send out announcements and explanations to each individual parent through the schools in a timely manner. This is commonly done for all sorts of school matters large and small. So why was it not done and done repeatedly in this monumental instance? Are there larger decisions made about schools than their possible closure and consolidation? Board members are not elected to proceed like dictators and tyrants, they are elected to involve and be responsive to the public.
Furthermore, it is completely inappropriate to keep the school district’s preferred site for the new school secret for months, then to finally reveal it publicly only to vote to confirm it as the new site 7 days later. Wow, the public had a whole 7 days to jump right in there and examine the site and give their opinion which the school board clearly values oh so much.
It is completely inappropriate to use a bogus evaluation survey of the possible sites, as we have documented was outrageously done.
By now at the least, it is completely inappropriate to continue to fail to televise school board meetings, like city council meetings are televised.
It is completely inappropriate to fail to discuss whether or not the intended new school site is a state Policy 6200 violation of hazardous siting when made aware it so obviously is. The entire school board has refused to discuss this terrible situation publicly, let alone admit it.
It is completely inappropriate to pretend and to state that the new school will be a small school, or even a school of 450 students which it is supposed to open at, or that there is enough room in the school when the projected combined enrollment of the to-be-consolidated Easton and Woodburn schools in the year this new school is to open is 464 students – 103 percent of capacity – projected to climb thereafter, projections made even before the recent enrollment boom.
Which over-enrollment students get left out of going to the new school? The board and school district has told the public nothing about the opening projected over capacity enrollment. How will that decision be made, which students go where? The school board has not even told the public that nearby North Elementary and Suncrest Elementary both operated over capacity last year. Has the superintendent ever told the board?
Why does the new green school grant application state that redistricting will take place once the new school is opened? Who approved that? Why do and how can President Parsons and Superintendent Devono continue to deny that redistricting will occur? Why does the school board never speak of it publicly otherwise though it is written in the grant application?
Could you and the rest of the board be any less open to the public, Mike Kelly?
School board candidate Junior Taylor states the revealing obvious:
“When you’re talking to people about it, there’s a feeling of mistrust. They feel like people have been doing things behind their back.”
Mistrust of the school board and Mon Schools administration is long since and deeply earned, as we continue to document in detail. They have operated and continue to operate behind the public’s back. The school board fails to properly supervise the superintendent who operates secretly and, at best, fails to inform the public and possibly the school board as well. One week to consider and select a new school site, anyone? Over capacity enrollment, anyone?
Junior Taylor apparently knows what so much of the public knows or senses, what none of the school board incumbents nor the superintendent can admit: the Monongalia County school board and superintendent have a habit of badly excluding and failing the public. And guess who gets the short end of the stick.